Pay Attention, Take Action, Get Results
Company reputations are influenced by product quality, service delivery, word-of-mouth, customer service interactions, and by how a business promotes itself. Now with a large number of websites that provide options for online reviews, along with social media and blogging platforms, there are a lot of places for people to share their opinions. Once online, these opinions persist and other people will read and be influenced by them. At times, these opinions may spread in a viral fashion. Given time, priority, and attention, reputations can be managed.
Here are some things to keep in mind.
Know the reputation of your business.
You probably have an idea of what people think of your business from what your customers say, what you hear from your employees, and perhaps even mentions in the media. What is said online about your business on review sites, social media, forums, blogs, and other places can and does influence perceptions of your business. While reviews can be both wonderful and frustrating, they also are an easy way for you to find out what people think of your business. It’s worth taking the time to monitor the conversations going on about your company online.
Your online reputation is related to your offline reputation.
This especially applies to offline businesses that have an online presence, but even online businesses have a reputation that extends beyond the online world. It’s common for people to discuss businesses online, especially if they are dissatisfied. Then what happens online will also affect how people view your business offline. If there is no response from a business owner or manager, or if the business web presence has problems, or if other people also share bad experiences, this will impact your business.
Reputation management is more than ratings.
Who doesn’t want to have the best rating and show up at the top? Ratings only tell part of the story though. Ratings are partially a reflection of how much your business is delighting customers, and that takes consistent effort over time. Some ratings aren’t fair. Some aren’t even real. Some people will have expectations you can’t meet. What’s more important is knowing ‘why’ you have a certain rating and working to improve it. Scores will very likely improve after problems are fixed.
It’s not all bad. Even negative feedback can be helpful.
Review comments from customers can reveal patterns of dissatisfaction and potential areas for improvement. Core issues can be identified (if you’re not already aware of them) and action can be taken to address them. If the comments are unfair or incorrect, it gives you a chance to formulate a response to that issue which you can use again in the future.
If you manage it, it will probably get better.
When you respond to reviews, you are showing you care and that you are paying attention. You are then part of the conversation and help improve customer perceptions. You can lessen the impact of bad reviews, and in some cases, even win someone back as a customer.
Provide avenues for customer feedback.
People want to be heard. While some people vent directly to the public on the Internet without trying to contact businesses, there are others who will pursue other avenues first. Make it easy for people to talk to someone in person, call, email, fill out online forms, or fill out comment cards. If someone contacts you, get back to them so they feel someone is listening. If you get negative feedback directly from a customer and they know it has been received, their negative comments may never make it to a public website like Yelp.
A reputation needs to be managed, both reactively and proactively. Many people will research a business on the Internet first before they visit your location or make a purchase, so it’s important to actively listen to what people are saying online and take action.
There are companies like ours that can help you monitor your reputation and formulate responses and strategies. There are also tools that can help you listen. Please contact us today for more information!
At Crown Point Solutions, we have helped companies manage their online reputations and we are re-thinking reputation management for the Internet age. We have developed many new insights we’d like to share. Let us know if you'd like us to contact you to discuss this important topic in more detail.
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